Hospitalists are positioned to play a key role as frontline providers in improving hospital patient satisfaction scores while simultaneously improving quality of care. Hospitalist communication skills are vital to improving patient compliance and adherence to treatment plans. Hospital payments are now affected by patient satisfaction and innovative training methods are needed to help hospitalists achieve better scores.
Literature has sparingly addressed training methodologies to assist hospitalists improve patient satisfaction scores. We sought to design an innovative workshop along with the use of picture business cards in an effort to improve patient satisfaction scores in an 8‐hospitalist program at a 170‐bed community teaching hospital.
A 120‐minute patient satisfaction training workshop was designed using the popular Studer framework. The workshop educated physicians on the importance of patient satisfaction scores; how they are collected, calculated and affect reimbursement; the principles of effective communication and how each stage of patient interaction impacts satisfaction and the overall quality of care delivered. It also incorporated detailed training on communication skills (AIDET principles) including role play and generalized scripts. A post‐workshop self‐assessment checklist was used to identify the top three areas for improvement by each physician. All hospitalists in the program attended the training workshop. Picture business cards were designed for all trained hospitalists. They were asked to use these cards at each initial patient encounter along with generic scripts discussed and taught at the workshop.
Doctor communication items on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey and overall hospital HCAPHS score will be measured 8 weeks pre and post intervention to assess the workshop’s effectiveness on improving patient satisfaction scores. Discharge phone calls to patients provided feedback on issues in real time and hospitalists were given feedback on their performance by the Hospitalist Director.
Preliminary feedback obtained through post‐discharge phone calls has been positive. This project has been implemented and preliminary data will be analyzed at 8 weeks post. This workshop provides the necessary tools for hospitalists to enhance the quality of their patient encounters. Ideally, this will improve patient satisfaction scores, decrease costs and simultaneously continue to provide high quality patient care.